[Event] Standard Chartered Marathon 2013 - how does it feel like to be a finisher?Monday, December 02, 2013
The iconic Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore ("SCMS") concluded yesterday with some 54,000 people taking part this year. Helmed as the nation's marquee running event, it is no wonder that this well-established race holds the Gold Label certification by the International Associate of Athletic Federations, placing our very own SCMS alongside world-class marathons such as Berlin, London and New York City marathons.
While it is not my first time taking part in a marathon, this year's race marked a special moment as this was the first time I am doing it with a companion, not just any but my other half. After some deliberation due to injuries and lack of training time, we decided to register for the full 42.195 km race.
What does it take to run a full marathon?
It takes more than just strong physical fitness but rather mental strength and determination. It really sounds a lot easier to type it out here than to rough it out on the roads. Having participated in races and spoken to many, I believe every runner has his or her own personal motivation to run a gruelling race as such. Trust me, it is a painful experience and some call the marathon one of the 'make or break' tests in life. It either makes you stronger or you simply succumb to the easier way out and give up, not forgetting all types of flowery excuses one can cook up.
Why do it?
Both of us are plagued with injuries due to previous sporting activities and lack of proper training due to our working schedules. It seemed like the most ridiculous agenda on our to-do list for the month of December when it is the holiday and festive season and what we should be doing is probably wine and dine. Blessed with flat-feet, running long distances is a nemesis but hey, do you not feel doubly good when you defy surrounding assumptions that you are not going to make it?
The first time I completed a marathon, I told myself I will never do it again in my life. Oh well, I am holding on to another finisher medal and tee. Was it however just the pursuit of that rewarding experience that made us do it?
The DJs and speakers were louder than the air horn but we got it when people were flagged off in waves towards the starting point. It is time to RUN!
The first 10 - 15 km of the race would be a breather to most full marathon runners, especially if you are well-hydrated and carbo-loaded. Personally I dread the 15-20 km stretch where you are just thinking, 'Damn, why am I paying money to suffer this pain?!' because it gets boring and mundane.
When you hit the 20-21 km mark, you would be thinking. 'Why din't I just sign up for the half marathon and I would be done now!' but no, you are only halfway there. Quite frankly, I hate the 21-29 km stretch because you are just running it for the sake of covering that distance.
A-ha! The 30 km mark is here! You would be thinking, 'last 12 km to go, almost there!'. Only then did you realise that the last 12 km did not feel quite as easy as the first 12 km...
After the 37 km mark, they stopped showing the distance covered but rather in a count-down fashion the distance to finishing line. You would realise most people are walking or limping like us by now.
Is marathon-running the proxy to reflection of life?
Believe it or not, running a marathon feels like going through a life cycle. Life undoubtedly has its ups and downs but it depends on you to decide the turning point. Like a marathon, I hold strongly the principles of sustainability in all aspects of life, for the truth is, there is no short-cut to success.
As much as we can be spoon-fed with the luxuries of life, age comes with responsibilities and at times, burden. It sometimes feels like that annoying side stitch when running but one can only embrace it. Admit it, we are not professional runners so somewhere along that 42km race, you are bound to break your running momentum and start to walk. The question is how long is your downtime going to be before you pick up the pace and start pounding the tarmac? Likewise, you are the master of your life and nobody can be a better life-changer for you.
Life has not been the most fantastic over the last few years but what I do have is this one lady who stood by me every moment. She has never once forsaken me during the extreme lows of my life and conversely accompanied me through the darkest days. The support we have for each other is like that rendered during the race where we ran, walked and limped our way through 42km.
Thank you for everything.
Nothing tasted as sweet as crossing the finishing line together and sealing a personal victory with a much deserved kiss.